When it comes to doing the weekly online shop, thank god for predictive analytics. Finding items is no longer a chore. The supermarket’s algorithm has got my number and has prepared a ready-made list of all my go-to items, plus a helpful suggestion of different disgusting coconut by-products. I don’t want cancer so obviously they all go in the basket without any fuss, no browsing required. Easy peasy.

However, are B2B marketers becoming too focused on the future to the detriment of the present? Does too great an obsession with predictive analytics mean B2B marketers are actually missing out on those precious little nuggets of cultural happenings that could turn a transactional vendor/prospect dynamic into an actual relationship…. if only for a few seconds?

The messages or campaigns that stick with us are those that resonate with us on a human level, sparking an emotional reaction. That’s what we’re all aiming for, right?

The example that springs to mind is IKEA, which recently hit the headlines when it transpired that the men of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones were wearing IKEA fur rugs. IKEA responded with a series of campaigns that created 778 million global impressions and a 775% increase in rug searches. Not bad for an off-the-cuff campaign.

My point is that although predictive analytics are brilliant for optimising user journeys, forecasting trends, segmenting customer data and personalising marketing messages, one mustn’t forget that data ultimately is people, and sometimes people can be unpredictable. Predicting the future shouldn't come at the cost of understanding the 'now'.

IKEA marketing director Laurent Tiersen summed it up...